What we are doing
We have a number of ways that we work to improve access and participation:
1. Access and participation plans
If a provider is registered with the Office for Students, and wants to charge higher fees, they must have an
access and participation plan.
sets out how they will improve equal opportunities for underrepresented groups of students.
We recently consulted on a new approach to regulating equality of opportunity in English higher education. In spring 2023 all providers with an access and participation plan will be expected to submit a new plan to cover 2024-25 to 2027-28.
The outcomes of the consultation including guidance on future access and participation plans for 2024-25 onwards will be published in spring 2023.
Find out more about the consultation
2. Access and participation data
We publish an
access and participation data dashboard
for each registered provider.
This is an important tool for understanding the progress that the sector and individual providers are making to improve equality of opportunity.
We continue to develop the dashboard, incorporating additional measures and characteristics when we can.
We monitor providers’ progress in delivering their access and participation plan commitments each year.
We keep our
approach to monitoring
of access and participation plans under review to ensure that monitoring is effective and proportionate.
4. Effective practice
We help providers to achieve the commitments set out in their access and participation plans by sharing
5. Uni Connect
We run the
programme, bringing together
together 29 partnerships of universities, colleges and other local partners to offer activities, advice and information to young people on the benefits and realities of going to university or college.
6. Evidence and evaluation
We want to make sure that universities use evidence so that their activity is strategic and has the greatest impact.
It is important for providers to know what access and participation activity works. So we expect providers to evaluation their work on access and participation.
Where possible, they should do this independently and publish the results. We provide information on
effectively evaluating access and participation work.